How did we survive without smartphones?

How did we survive without smartphones?

An in-depth look at how we all survived without smartphones

How did we survive without smartphones?

Rising popularity of phones:

Ask anyone under the age of 20 if they can remember a time without mobile phones. Chances are that they can't. That's because since the late 90's mobile phones have dominated human lives. Before that, the 'brick-like' phones were all the range and they didn't have the internet or data. Texting was also not a possibility. Meaning that most communication was done in person face-to-face. It was also very uncommon for people to sleep next to their phones. Unlike today, where almost every interaction business or personal is done via smartphone. If you don't think that's true, try performing daily tasks without a smartphone for 24- hours. Mission impossible right? Or at least it's less convenient.

Since 1994, with the first smartphone IBM Simon, smartphones have proved themselves invaluable. This is mainly because of their ability to save time and energy. From basic tasks like creating shopping lists to performing skype interviews, smartphones can do it all. Here, are some quick facts about smartphones.

  • It is estimated that around 2.1 billion people in the world own a smartphone
  • 51% of adults in the US use smartphones for shopping
  • Samsung sold the most smartphones in 2017
  • The number of smartphones shipped in China in 2017 is 459 million

The most popular smartphone uses

Functioning as more than just a phone, many smartphones are practically mini-laptops. This is partly due to the number of apps (applications) available. No matter what you want to do there is pretty much a smartphone app that can perform that task.

  • Booking a holiday

Remember travel agents? No, neither do we, but before smartphones, people used travel agents to book their holidays. Travel agents were usually stationed in shopping malls and high streets. Here, people would be able to look at the travel agent's catalogue of offers. Similar to any catalogue it contained photos and basic information for tourist destinations. Sadly, destinations were limited to the places, where that travel agent had deals. Meaning, that in order to compare offers there was a bit of legwork involved. This was because people would have to write down the offers and visit multiple agents. Travel agents also only usually worked from 9-5, which created busy lunch and weekend periods.

Thankfully, now there are smartphones. Booking a holiday can be done round the clock from the comfort of your own home. Hotel and flight comparison sites also make it much easier to find great deals. Many sites even offer excursion or sightseeing tours as extras for many holiday destinations. Data shows that around 65% of all flights and hotels are now booked via smartphones. So long travel agents.

Online Banking

Before online banking, there was just plain old banking. There were no banking apps and internet banking was not a thing. When people wanted to transfer money, they had to do bank or wire transfers. This involved going into the bank and filling in a transfer form. Once sorted, the transfer could take up to a week to go through.

Nowadays, as many people know money transfers can be done with a few clicks. Many apps and payment methods like iDebit can even act like wallets. Well e-wallets, this is because they can connect to your bank account. This means that if you want to make or receive payments you can use it. It's quick and easy to use and there are no hidden fees. Unlike with traditional transfers where a percentage of the money can be taken as a fee.

The News

Whilst the feel of newspaper can't be replicated by a smartphone, the news itself can. Every day 100's of people log-on to popular news sites. The majority of this happens during work commutes where people are looking to kill time. Of course, some people still prefer to buy a newspaper, but this is time-consuming. Especially, if you're in a busy newsagent and don't have the exact change ready. There, is also the added chance you will end up buying other items.

According to, 85% of US adults read the news on mobile phones. This is a variety of news from political, sports, financial, and entertainment. To find a newspaper with all of these sections and more would mean a pretty bulky newspaper. Which on a crowded bus or underground is not really ideal? Having access to all of these news items all one screen is pretty handy. Also as we all know the news updates by the minute, which websites and apps can facilitate. This is why many newspapers offer both morning and evening editions. Which for environmentalists means double the waste.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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